Dungeness Chilli Crab

Singapore is famed for having the best chilli crab in the world. Mostly the monster Ceylon crabs are imported overnight from Sri Lanka for this dish. In this case we are using dungeness crab which have a lot of meat and flavor. Any crab would work. Basmati rice is optional and probably will be leftover as the crabs are so addictive and usually eaten without ceremony.


  • Dungeness crabs – 3-4 big specimens (about 3kg whole before cleaning)
  • Shallots – 6 shallots
  • Garlic – 7 cloves
  • Ginger – 2 inch piece
  • Lemongrass – 4 inch piece
  • Red chilli – 5 chillies
  • Bird’s eye chilli – 2 chillis
  • Chicken stock – 2 1/2 cups
  • Sweet chilli sauce – 3 tablespoons
  • Oyster sauce – 2 teaspoons
  • Tomato ketchup – 1 1/2 tablespoons
  • Corn flour – 1 tablespoon
  • Chilli paste – 1 tablespoon or according to taste (recipe found here)
  • Egg – 1 slightly beaten
  • Coriander – roughly chopped
  • Spring onion – finely chopped
  • Vegetable oil
  • Lemon


  1. Clean the crab, wash and cut into halves. Top shell can be used or discarded according to preference.
  2. Grind shallots, ginger, garlic, red chillies, lemongrass and bird’s eye chillies into a paste using a food processor or pestle.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix chicken stock, sweet chilli sauce, oyster sauce, tomato ketchup, corn flour and chilli paste.
  4. Heat 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large wok and add the ground paste prepared in step 2; cook untill fragrant and the oil separates.
  5. Add the crab to the wok and mix until fully coated with the paste.
  6. Add the sauce mix prepared in step 3. Mix well until the crabs are fully coated.
  7. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and stirr occasionally untill the crab turns red and the sauce thickens.
  8. Turn off the heat, add the egg and mix well so that there are no lumps.
  9. Add more lemon juice, lemon zest and salt according to taste.
  10. Garnish with coriander and spring onions.
  11. Serve hot with steamed rice, bread or noodles.
  12. Cold beer or whisky will complement the dish well.

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